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Shanghai is a massive urban hub and major entry point into China for the thousands of visitors who pour into this metropolitan and ancient country year round. As in any self respecting mega-city in China, there isn’t just one railway station, but many and Hongqiao serves a particular set of destinations, it is new and spotless and well located near the second international airport of the city giving it excellent access to places like hotels and the most current infrastructure.
Hongqiao sits on the West side of the city located about 15km from People’s Square. The new age and massive size of the terminal make it a preferred spot for high speed trains which are quite the attraction to enjoy in China. This railway station is also connected via the metro system to the Pudong International Airport on the other side of the city.
The arrivals hall is on the ground floor. Signs are marked in English and Chinese on the floors and above for restrooms, ticket purchasing counters, exits and there are many restaurants and stores available for all sorts of purchases. Know that the terminal is very long, so if rushing for a train, don’t slow down once inside, you may have a ways to go. The upper level is the area of departures it is a space that holds entrances to over thirty platforms. The information offices are easily accessible and the attendants are quite helpful.
The station sees the departure of about 60 trains per day during peak hours. Many of these are high speed and are classified as G and D lines. Most trains run in a South and Westerly direction, servicing other major cities which have sprung up or grown with Shanghai over the centuries. Hangzhou is the most interconnected destination with departures on the hour. The ride on high speed can cut a three hour drive down to an hour’s journey.
Other destinations the station serves with regular service are Beijing, Nanjing, Wuxi, Suzhou and Kunshan. Many of the long distance trains that are not high speed will run overnight as sleeper cars and this can be an efficient use of the travel time one has in moving about in China. Overall the Hongqiao train station is a very secure, orderly and clean place to depart from in Shanghai. It is well connected with all forms of city transit and even further transit such as the long distance bus terminal and the airport metro links.